Geography of My Childhood, Just for Posterity

South side Sault Ste. Siberia

This map represents my old childhood stomping grounds. There’s my school, Lincoln, and my grandma’s house was only a few blocks away. And Aunt Marion’s store, where we bought penny candy and popsicles and stuff. And (dun dun dun) The Gully! Where it was rumoured that bullies hung out, lighting things on fire and beating kids up. We didn’t go through there alone!

My best friend throughout grade school was Laurie, you can see where her house was. She went to the Catholic school, St. Joseph’s. You can see where that is, too. We each had friends in our own schools too but we hung around with each other the most. We played after school a lot and, every Saturday, I would get up and watch cartoons until I figured I could get away with calling her up. I can still remember her phone number. Five digits, that was back in the day. Her mom made her clean her room every Saturday morning. I never had to clean my room on a regular schedule but The Commander was stricter with me about other things. I guess it all balances out somehow.

Anyway, Laurie and I seemed to have similar spirits. I don’t remember us playing with girly toys much, even though we both owned them. I do remember us as being brave but not foolhardy, mischievous but not real trouble-makers. And we were snotty. Sheesh! We were not particularly nice to other children that we viewed as lesser entities. And, actually, she could sometimes be pretty snotty to me, telling me that Sunday School was for babies, among other things. I guess having to do catechism and sit through Latin Mass made you a grown-up at the age of eight or whatever. And I didn’t even *like* going to Sunday School. Anyway, I would go home mad but our fights never lasted very long and we’d be back out there running and jumping and plotting and planning and riding our bikes wildly around the neighborhood. And whatever.

We stopped being buddies in junior high. We were still in different schools. Laurie was still at St. Joe’s (K-8) and I had to trudge downtown to Sault Jr. High. She turned into someone cool and popular. I turned into a shy, awkward kid who struggled to make friends all the way through junior high.

My family had some good times at the Superior St. house but we left it long ago and my grandparents have been dead for well over 30 years. I don’t know if Laurie’s family still occupies that house. I know her mom is dead. Aunt Marion’s (which was owned by a relative of Laurie’s, actually) modernized back in about the 70s and I’m not sure what, if anything, is there now. Lincoln School is still around, along with Washington School, which is across the street from the house The Commander lives in now. There were a bunch of other elementary schools when I was a kid: Jefferson, Garfield, Malcolm, McKinley, and, uh, Finlayson, which was named after my grandaddy. The Catholic schools closed for a long time but I *think* that some of them have started back up. And that’s very cool as far as I’m concerned, Sunday School vs. Catechism notwithstanding. And, in case you were wondering, The Gully is now filled with houses, natch.

One Response to “Geography of My Childhood, Just for Posterity”

  1. l4827 Says:

    Ahem. I remember a girl extorting some candy from some named ‘P’ store (a bike ride away) that also had the latest GI Joe stuff. Going down there to get some popsicles, was a good bike ride from Bingham, my Aunt’s place. I remember the stuff *we* (my friend whose older sister Barb, who lived behind us on John street) were interested in, always merchandised next to the entrance door, on the left I believe. Our *gully* was on the other side, and corner of, Sixth st. It was an old abandoned one house project. Ah these memories (10 ** N, where N is log 0.????, I ain’t sayin’) years ago, :-).